Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 170 - Sun 10/25/98
2. NEW: Polishing Jade Spheres
3. NEW: Query on Wire Wrapping
4. RE: New Lapidary Templates
5. RE: New Lapidary Templates
6. RE: New Lapidary Templates
7. RE: New Lapidary Templates
8. COMMENT: The text width is TOO wide!!!
9. Re: Homemade Sea Glass
10. RE: Home-Made Sea Glass
11. NEW: Band saws or ring saws
12. RE: New Lap Digest Web page
13. RE: New Lap Digest Web page
14. BIO: Bob Berg
15. BIO: Cindy Law
16. NEW: Visit Our Club's Web Site
17. FS: Tumble Rough


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 170 - Sun 10/25/98

Have gotten a few ideas about web pages, and want to try
out a few on you-all (or, more properly, y'all):

1. Put some of our single topic pages, such as spheres or
channel work, for viewers to read.
2. Pictures of member's work - cabs, intarsia, and so on.
3. Links to member's web sites.
4. Links to important lapidary sites.
5. If we can find plans for home-made lap equipment, put
them on these pages.

I have already recast the Welcome letter as a FAQ page, and
will add that, and a subscription form.

Come on, guys, THINK! What would you like to see on your
lapidary page? Know any great links for lapidary topics?
Or links to your favorite lapidary material pages? Please
send them in!

Take good care of yourselves, and remember to hug your
loved ones. Above all, have fun in life!!!


Subject: NEW: Polishing Jade Spheres

I have a friend who makes Spheres. He has access to a good
quality Jade but is having trouble getting a decent polish
on the stuff. Does anyone out there have the secret to
give him? If so please drop him a line at

Thanks so much.

Subject: NEW: Query on Wire Wrapping

Hi, my name is Tom Staley out of Elko, Nevada and am just
getting into wire wrapping and would appreciate any input
I can get. Your Digest is great, I have been looking for
some Breanue Jasper and found where I can get some through
your Digest.

Hale's Note: Tom, wire wrapping per se is outside the range
of topics covered by the Digest. I spent some time tonight
trying to find a note I recently saw about a new mail list
for wire wrapping, but only found another note that said that
the proposed list was a commercial venture for selling. If
I find anything, I'll send it on - and hopefully the list
members will do the same. Now if you want to talk about what
is being wrapped, than we have a lot to talk about!!

Subject: RE: New Lapidary Templates

I make my own templates for some of my work. The method I
use to construct them may be of interest. I have two general
techniques I use, depending on my use requirements. The
first is the easiest, I cut a blank from a slab of obsidian.
The material is plentiful and easy to work. I leave it
squared off and do a quick sand and polish (I found if I
don't polish it, I'll forget what it is and lose it). I
then draw around it on my slab to mark my cabs for cutting.
A quick, easy, template.

The second is more work but is useful for creating the same
shape in different sizes. I use a computer drawing package
to create the basic shape. The computer helps to keep the
design symmetric and to draw it to a metric dimension. I can
then duplicate it and expand or shrink it as needed to the
other sizes desired. The drawing is then printed. Then using
a water soluble glue, I glue it to a thin (about 1/16 inch)
piece of plastic (the plastic is available locally at Tap
Plastic). I mount a small bur in my drill press and mill out
the outline. Soaking in water removes the paper and the
result is a template almost as good as the commercial ones.

Two of my templates were published in the January 1998
issue of "Anglic Gemcutter". I don't think what I have can
usefully be put in this Digest, I'm afraid there would be
too much dimensional tolerance lost in trying to produce a
graphics image from my drawing package and I don't know if
it is a good idea to add graphics attachments to the Digest

Back issues of the Anglic Gemcutter may be available, try
contacting Rick Ford at:

Anglic Gemcutter
P. O. Box 826
Beavercreek OR 97004-0826

non-commercial republish permission granted

Dick Friesen
Hale's note: Would you-all like to see some new template
shapes up on the web? If so, send me a sketch of what you
think would be a good addition.

Subject: RE: New Lapidary Templates

In a message dated 98-10-22 15:43:12 EDT, you write:

<< Does anyone have a good source for uncommon lapidary
templates? I'm not talking about the standard hearts, squares
and ovals, but more interesting and smaller shapes >>

The GIA has a "Jewelry Design Template" that is quite nice
for the smaller stones. There are ovals 4x6 up to 14x20,
Pears 4-1/2 x 7 thru 16x10, Marquise 8x4 thru 16-1/2x8-1/2,
Emeralds 6x6 thru 13x8 and Rounds 2 thru 13. There are some
other misc. designs that are not much use for stones but the
above comes in very handy.

You can call the Book Store at the GIA for price and info.

Don at Campbell Gemstones

Subject: RE: New Lapidary Templates

I have found some interesting shapes in the sewing/stitching
area of craft stores. I believe the templates are intended
for quilting designs.

John McLaughlin

Subject: RE: New Lapidary Templates


You might consider making some of your own templates. One
really easy way is to get some sheets of "shrink art" plastic
that is sold at craft stores. (Some art supply stores carry
it, too) Trace an outline of the template shape you want 2/3
to 3/4 larger than the finished size (sorry I can't remember
the exact ratio). Cut the shape out and bake it in the oven
as per the directions you get with the sheet. When it's done
you'll have a nice heavy, clear plastic template. You can fit
several shapes on a sheet, depending on the sizes you use.

Once you work out the proportions, you can use a photocopier
to adjust the drawings to the right size for tracing. And
best of all, you can come up with some completely original


Subject: COMMENT: The text width is TOO wide!!!

Did anyone chide you yet about using an overly wide text
width? :-)

Alan Silverstein
Alan: I went back to Issue 100, yesterday before publishing
#169, to check the line length, as it looked very long to
me. Then later I went back to #50, and, yes, the lines are
two spaces longer! Finally found that the notepad was using
a proportional font but the software which manages the list
used the fixed font. So, now - again - I am composing in a
fixed spacing format. Is this better? hale

Subject: Re: Homemade Sea Glass

In response to Lucinda's question about making sea glass.
You break the glass and put it in a tumbler with 1st grit.
Let it go until the glass has lost all it's sharp edges and
has that nice sand blasted look that can be found in glass
on the beach. I actually did this as an experiment and it
works great. If you follow the whole process you'll end up
with polished glass. Very fun and VERY easy. Just tell the
boys to be careful breaking the glass. That's the hardest
part to do safely.



Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 15:56:42 -0600
Subject: RE: Home-Made Sea Glass

< I purchased a product called "sea glass"...>

Is it really glass, or some sort of soft silica gel/compound?

<Quite simply, this stuff looks like broken jar & bottle
bottoms (they're thick pieces) that have been tumbled...>

Yup, that's probably what it is. Though if it's actual sea
glass, I can see why they'd charge so much; it takes time and
good luck to find much of it on the beach.

I tried making some of my "sea glass" own a while back...
I got some colorful bottles, mainly blue, green, brown, and
red; broke them up with a hammer; and tumbled the shards.
It worked fine, with these caveats:

1. Bottle glass is the ONLY material I've seen that
consistently PRODUCES gas instead of absorbing it. Most
tumbler loads cause the barrel lid and bottom to suck in
during the week, probably as material in coarse form
becomes fine enough to actually dissolve; but bottle glass
must release some sort of gas, because the barrel bulges.
Keep an eye on it and "burp" it if necessary.

2. The glass tumbles very quickly on coarse grit; that is,
it gets smaller in a hurry. Don't even let it go a
full week on coarse without checking it. Even so, expect
small bits of glass unless you start with very big chunks.

3. Even with plastic pellets I could never get the glass
to take a polish. I guess it's so soft that any sort of
tumbling causes it to frost, rather like obsidian (natural
volcanic glass). I haven't tried other thickeners yet, like
sugar. For your application I suppose frosted is just fine.

Alan Silverstein
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 16:17:06 -0600
Subject: Band saws or ring saws

I'm the one who asked the original question. I bought a
Chinese saw from Harbor Freight. The price was $149.99 I
gave it a try based on a reassuring comment from Orchid.
The saw is Stock # 33751 and a replacement blade is Stock
#35284 at $29.99. Harbor Freight does not always list these
in their never ending catalogs but they seem to stock it
on a regular basis. I would say that the saw is probably
built for the stone working "industry" in China and is sold
here incidentally. It seems to be solid but it is not
overpowered. This is probably a benefit as it keeps blade
damage down.

I had a problem which I fixed rather than return the saw.
The fuse holder was broken on the inside and the saw would
not run from lack of power when I got it. $1.59 to Radio
Shack and a few minutes fixed this.

The instructions are typical Oriental and a little confusing,
but the saw has nothing unusual mechanically so that was no
problem. The instructions do not include removing the back
panel on set up to remove a polyfoam shipping block and in
my case put the belt on the drive. You may need to make some
minor adjustments to the wheel mountings to free them up so
the motor can pull the blade.

The saw uses a DC motor and has an electronic adjustable
speed control. You have to run the speed fast enough to pull
the blade. I would say the saw is definitely worth the price
which is less than half the domestic competition. The blade
length is 36 1/8" and the saw appears to be adaptable to
the 37 " length used on the American saw if blade
replacements become unavailable. The band saw appears to be
better for lapidary work and the ring saw better for
stained glass.

These are all my opinions only.
Jesse Brennan

Subject: RE: New Lap Digest Web page

Dear Hale,

Thank you for the time you are able to give to the digest
and what a wonderful idea the web page is. I am looking
forward to it.

How about a monthly submission (from list members) of jpegs
of unusual stones, cuts, processes or just a brief 'how to'
page? I would love to see jpegs of some of the stones we
discuss (perhaps more unusual than my Australian tiger eye).

If I can help, please let me know.

Thanks again for all your work and blessings to you and
your wife - 50 years is certainly a thing to be celebrated!

Nancy <>
Bacliff, Texas US just blocks from Galveston Bay

Subject: RE: New Lap Digest Web page

Hi Hale,

Regarding your is your site, you be the
biggest influence.

You know me, I have been one of your originals and a loud
fan. I like what you have done with the page you have and
everything else. I like the fact that I have done some
contributing, both to your success and the fact that you
have always made things so accessible as a forum. That, is
important; the later item, that is.

Recommendations? It is nice that you ask all of us, and I
am sure that you will get numerous responses. My only
suggestion at this time is to load US first. That gets Us
going first, and the graphics can come later. Immediate
interest- a hook, if you will. Besides, text loads
instaniously whereas the later can come later.

Either way, You decide. I think many of us have a certain
respect for how you will handle it.

Hail, Hale!

aka BW Smith

(P.S. Did/has any of the periodicals required a 'Permission print'? I think not. Perhaps this should be an
option, and the 'print' be thought of as just
put the disclaimer in as the Site Manager. Unless of course
someone says they want it public knowledge, however limited
they should decide).
(Hale's Note: Thanks, Brewster, both for giving me a chance
to comment on the request for ideas for our web page and for
all of your contributions to the Digest. I asked for ideas,
since 1287 brains are more powerful than mine alone. I will
be the final one to decide, but I can surely use idea help!

There are fundamental differences between web page - which
is like a bulletin board - and a mail list - which is more
like a magazine, and what we need to consider is how a web
site can help achieve the objectives of the mail list.
That is, the mail list is primary, and the web site should
complement and help the Digest do a better job. hale)

Subject: BIO: Bob Berg

Hi fellow rock hounds. I and my wife have been rock hounds
for almost 50 years. Those were the golden years. I have a
web page at If you log in
please give me your comments. I am Federation Director with
the Lake Elsinore Gem and Mineral Society and my wife Beverly
is Scholarship chairperson with the CFMS. That is the
California Federation of Mineral Societies.

Glad to meet you.


Subject: BIO: Cindy Law

We are Stonecrest Gems, Minerals and Custom Lapidary.
Principle operator is Joe Law. He has worked lapidary his
entire life. His best teachers have been his parents, Gene
and Alice Law, of "The Rock Farm" here in San Diego County
and he learned knapping from his dear friend, Lyle, the late
"Chief Chippaway".

Joe operates his business in and around San Diego County.
Slabbing, knapping, polishing, using flat laps, grinders,
ultrasonic drills, tumbling, etc.

I have been looking for something like this to discuss and
network with others. Thanks Hale.

Cindy Law
Noncommerical reproduction is granted.

Subject: NEW: Visit Our Club's Web Site

I would like to invite the readers of the "Lapidary Digest"
to visit the Web Home Page of the Pleasant Oaks Gem and
Mineral Club of Dallas. Our site can be found at

It is a new web site and we're trying to get more material
on line. Comments and contributions (files, pictures, etc.)
are welcome.


"Non-commercial republication rights granted."

Subject: FS: Tumble Rough

Hi Group,

I have 21 pounds of tumble sized pieces of petrified wood
in 1 pound bags. $5 per bag and includes the grit charges
(80, 220, 400) per pound.

If interested, please contact me off list.

Mark Case
Randleman, NC
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